Alternative Treatments

Aquatic Therapy


When I learned that my neurologist was referring me for aquatic therapy at our local hospital, I was very excited. I love pain therapies that don’t involve prescription medications! After today’s evaluation and seeing the pool and all the work that goes into this new therapy, though, I’m left with a different feeling altogether…. **



One word to describe my Lupus body today:  Exhausted

Which habits and rituals did I practice to soothe my Lupus body?

  • Slept well
  • Ate a clean diet
  • Moved and stretched
  • Breathed fresh air
  • Stayed hydrated
  • Protected delicate skin

More details about my physical symptoms:
Today was busy and exhausting. I had an evaluation for aquatic therapy for my Lupus arthritis, which continues to cause joint pain and swelling throughout my body. My neurologist recommended this aquatic therapy during my visit with him two weeks ago when he expressed concern about the compression of my spinal cord and the effect it is having on my nervous system. The goal, he said, is to get stronger through exercise that minimizes the effects of gravity, which causes additional pressure on my joints. I already have a physical therapist for my “land work,” as the new aquatic therapist referred to it, and this new aquatic therapy is meant to be an adjunct to that. The evaluation was grueling, as he tested my range of motion, posture, and gait. I left in more pain than when I arrived. Isn’t that always the way? Now that the evaluation is done, I’m scheduled to start aquatic therapy next Monday at the hospital’s 93-degree saline pool. It sounds soothing, but….



One word to describe my Lupus mind today: Tentative

Which habits and rituals did I practice to strengthen my Lupus mind?

  • Managed expectations
  • Focused on the positive
  • Managed stress response
  • Managed time and energy

More details and thoughts about how I’m feeling emotionally today:
Just as I’m beginning to feel stronger physically, I feel like I’m being forced into taking the next step to increase my strength. Adding this new aquatic therapy is meant to take me to the proverbial next level. I understand that, but unfortunately, the fear is taking over, and I’m feeling very unsure about it. My argument now is that I would just like to stay strong in this place for a while before moving on to more activity, which will probably cause more pain as I move into uncharted physical territory. Sometimes, I just want to be still for a while and enjoy my newfound strength. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. So, I’m thinking about delaying the start of the aquatic therapy for at least a month in order to be truly ready—physically and emotionally—for the next step. It’s still just a thought. I have some time to decide….



One word to describe my spirit today: Spent

Which habits and rituals did I practice to nurture my Lupus spirit?

  • Enjoyed sacred space
  • Meditated, prayed, visualized

Thoughts about my spiritual connection and spiritual lessons learned today:
Understanding that growth of any kind—physical, emotional, or spiritual—requires stepping outside of our comfort zones to do and be more than we thought we could. When you live with Lupus, with all its chronic conditions, it’s easy to feel like you just don’t want to try so hard anymore, though. So many times, I have pushed forward only to be pushed back as my body reacts unfavorably to something new. Sometimes, it even reacts out of the blue when I’ve done nothing new or out of the ordinary. This disease is so darn unpredictable! So, after today’s activities, I’m faced with two choices: 1) taking that next step toward growth by starting aquatic therapy on Monday; or 2) delaying the start of it in favor of just not trying so hard for now. I have no way to know which answer is right, but I’m working on listening to my soul to figure out the direction I should take. In the meantime, I’m going to be still and quiet and pray. That’s easy enough.



Today my meals were:

  • Breakfast: Gluten-free oatmeal with raisins, cinnamon, and honey; clementine
  • Lunch: Leftover five-spice, sesame chicken breast and rice
  • Dinner: Grilled turkey burger, red potatoes, green beans, yellow squash
  • Snacks: None
  • Water: 51 ounces



At least one thing that I’m grateful for today:

  • Meditation


**(This post is based on the format of the Lupus Diary that I developed for keeping track of how Lupus affects my body, mind, and spirit, I check-in here once a week to let you know about the more interesting days of my Lupus journey. To learn more about the Lupus Diary, how I developed it, and why I use it, click here.)

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